Citizens Manifesto Seeks Repeal of CAA, Anti-Conversion, Other Draconian Laws

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The manifesto, released by the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and the Maharashtra chapter of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties on Friday, got an endorsement from 61 organisations including Aam Aadmi Party

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — A Citizens Human Rights Manifesto released recently has demanded the repeal of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), anti-conversion, anti-cow slaughter laws, and the draconian sections of UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act), NSA (National Security Act) and PSA (Public Safety Act) among others.

The manifesto, released by the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and the Maharashtra chapter of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties on Friday, got an endorsement from 61 organisations including Aam Aadmi Party. The manifesto comes up with 14 human rights asks and one major demand. The 14 asks include upholding of right to peaceful assembly, the right to a free press, the right to a clean environment, and the protection of the right to life and liberty of all. The major demand calls for the repeal of the laws which infringe upon the constitutional rights of people.

The manifesto also demands the repeal of the newly introduced three criminal laws, namely the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik, Suraksha Sanhita 2023 and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023, Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to sedition, and release those falsely implicated under it, the repeal of Information Technology (IT) Rules amendments, the Telecommunications Act 2023, Registration of Births & Deaths (Amendment) Act, 2023 and the Digital Personal Data Protection Act 2023, and withdraw the Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill 2023.

It called for the repeal of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Act, 2023 as it undermines the judgement of the constitution bench of the Supreme Court.

It also demanded the repeal of all State laws (criminal) Public Security Acts, Organised Crimes Acts and Goondas Act as offences under these laws are adequately dealt with under IPC.

These demands for the repeals were under the one major demand in the manifesto. Besides, there are ask sections which seek to introduce acts to prevent communal violence, strict section against hate speeches and other hateful activities, the implementation of Supreme Court judgments regarding hate speeches and mob violence, implementation of police reforms, restoration of the discontinued scholarship and fellowship meant for minority students, and strict implementation of the MGNREGA.

Regarding steps to curb hate speeches, the manifesto said police and law enforcement personnel be trained to protect targeted communities from violence caused by hate speech and to prevent hate speech and hate crimes, developing a Model Hate Crimes Manual with advisories about regular training to administrators and law enforcement officials to ensure sensitive and prompt redressal, monitoring instances of violence-inciting hate speech in public by influential figures, television news channels and the like, and taking prompt action against them; presently the monitoring is either under the jurisdiction of the NBDSA (National Broadcasting & Digital Standards Authority) that needs to be given more binding powers and the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITy).

It asked for enacting a law (on the lines of the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011) to protect religious and linguistic minorities, as well as people from historically oppressed communities like Dalits and Adivasis in all states, after public consultation and reference to a Joint Parliamentary Committee, ensure that the law provides for preventive, remedial and punitive measures, and has necessary provisions to make authority figures accountable for dereliction of duty in the event of targeted violence.

It also seeks to ensure that the law provides for adequate compensation and reparation. The manifesto calls for ensuring that provisions to monitor, penalise and prosecute hate crimes and hate speech are also well-outlined and victims/survivors of cow vigilante attacks and mob lynchings are not booked under the anti-cow slaughter laws.

The rights groups want the government to stop all attempts to target meat sellers, drop all false cases against cattle traders and other sections of religious minorities and immediately release all those who are incarcerated under the anti-cow slaughter laws and ensure members of marginalised communities, historically oppressed castes, economically disadvantaged classes, and religious minorities are not falsely implicated and jailed in cases of targeted violence and rioting.

They further opposed any attempts to undermine the Places of Worship Act, 1991 and change the nature of any places of worship.

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